bubbling toilet on septic

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by agssung1, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. agssung1

    agssung1 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    We moved into our house a little over three years ago. This house is on a septic tank. The house was built in 1964 and the current tank is a second tank. When our toilet started to bubble sometime in the summer while doing laundry, taking a shower or washing dishes, so we finally called the septic tank services to have the tank pumped at the end of September. It was suggested by the septic service tank company that if our toilet starts to bubble again, we better start digging and call them back for blockage repairs. It only took 1 ½ weeks for our toilet to start bubbling again. We are not experienced diggers and don’t even know where to start. The particular company does not provide digging services.
    After reading some previous postings, we have learned that this bubbling problem maybe two issues, blockage in the pipeline or partial blockage in the tank it self. Can you please advice on what is the most cost effective fix and do other septic tank services provide digging service if it is necessary? We greatly appreciate your time and suggestions!
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    If the leach field, not the tank, has not been replaced since 1964 my $$$ is on the leach field needing replacement. That would make the field 52 years old and that is the upper limit for one to last.

    If after 1.5 weeks you are having the same symptoms then chances are you need a new one.

    Are there any trees or bushes between the house and tank or within 75' left or right of the soil pipe going to the tank??
  3. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

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    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    Yes, it took a week and a half to fill the tank back up.....
  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

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    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    He didn't say it was filled up again he said they had the same symptoms. Probably filled but we don't know that.

    I suggest they start by getting 2-3 companys to come out and check the system and give estimates on field replacement. It could be a bad D box or roots but unlikely.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2006
  5. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    I think thats right.
  6. agssung1

    agssung1 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    agssung1

    Thank you, Cass and Plumber 1, for your quick reply. There are no trees between the house and the tank. I am not sure what soil pipe is? There is a tree within 75 feet from the opening of the septic tank though. The tank is filled up to the same level as it was before it was pumped at the end of September, which the septic service agent thought the level is higher than he would like it to be. How much do you think such repair should cost and how soon should I take care of it (I am considering saving up for the repair if I have time to accumulate some savings).

    Thanks,

    agssung1
  7. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Again, call 2-3 septic guys to look at your system and tell you what you need to do and they will give you a price at the same time. Prices are dependant on your local economy and work that needs to be done so we can't tell you a price. Prices can vary up to $5,000.00 depending on where you live and what they have to do.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2008
  8. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    A new leach field in my area is around $3,000, I'm told.
  9. mariner

    mariner New Member

    Messages:
    38
    Location:
    Hixon, BC
    bubbling toilet on septic tank

    Hi,

    Sounds like you will hve plenty of work ahead of you - my bet is that the leachfield and piping need replacement.

    I had similar problem (long story) and had to rplace both the septic tank and drain field. Fortunately I was able to get half of the cost out of the previous owners (50% of cost is better than 100% of nothing).

    In my case the soil had high clay content and rocks, so a pressure mound dispersal system had to be installed. This takes up space above groound and on a small lot, would be a bit of an eyesore. In my case not too bad as I am on 120 aces.

    The total cost for my system was $25,000 and took about one week to install.

    In your case it might pay to get the 'D' box checked out - if that is blocked, then little will pass through it. If the D box is clear and pipes good, then your leach field ill probably need replacement.

    HTH

    mariner
  10. molo

    molo Member

    Messages:
    844
    Location:
    cold new york
    Septic System Life Expectancy

    Hello all,
    We are considering a new septic system. Around here the county agency comes out does percolation tests. They then advise on what kind of a system to install. My question is, how long can we expect this to last? We're looking at dropping some serious cash on this thing, and if it's going to need to be replaced in 20 years that'll be scary.

    TIA,
    Molo
  11. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    In a system that old, your septic tank might be discharging into either a dry well or a leach field "finger" or "trench" system. If you know the size of your septic tank, you could guess as to whether a week or so of your water usage would fill it, and I would suspect that is likely the case. As others have said, you probably need a new drain field in the ground beyond your tank, and I would guess your tank is fine if it is large enough for your local, present-day codes.

    If you do a little digging at the far end of your septic tank, you will find the discharge pipe going out into something, and that "something" could be either a dry well or a smaller distribution box feeding the fingers of a new-style field system. If you want to check things out on your own, just do a little digging at the end of your septic tank to find that pipe and follow it a few feet to wherever it goes, and then take a look inside that next component. If you can handle doing that to learn a little more about your system, it might be far easier for you to call around for someone to get the permit and do the repairs. One problem you might run into, however, is that your local codes might now require a larger septic tank than was acceptable back in '64.

    If you end up needing a new field system as seems likely here, see if maybe you can find a manufacturer of septic tanks nearby and ask those folks for a couple of recommendations as to who to call for possibly doing your work. And if you have a couple of shovel buddies who might want to help make this a DIY project, I can tell you how to get it done for dimes on the dollar.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 27, 2007
  12. lampman42

    lampman42 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Septic Problem TELL ME MORE!!

    LEEJOSEPHO tell me more. I have the same problem, toilet and tub are bubbling like crazy during laundry and clothes washing. I am all for saving money and doing things myself and I would be very greatfull for any help.
  13. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    First, you might need to check with your local permit office or agency before doing too much, but that sometimes depends upon various other factors.

    A septic tank is simply a pass-through processing plant where waste solids either break down and dissolve, settle to the bottom or go out into the drain field when the tank is overwhelmed. Small tanks (1000 gallons or less) need more time (less total flow) in order for things to happen properly, and washing machines can greatly overload them. Personally, I have *only* my toilets, bathroom sinks and the kitchen sink going into my septic tanks. Tubs/showers and the washing machine have a completely separate drain field.

    When septic tanks are overworked, and even for other reasons as well, drain fields plug up ... and that is likely why you are experiencing the gurgling. Whatever is coming out of your tank has no ready-to-receive place to go.

    Do you know any of your septic system's specs?
  14. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    I've seen lots of speculation that bubbling in the toilet is caused by a plugged leach field, however... wouldn't a plugged vent be the cause?

    Rancher
  15. lampman42

    lampman42 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    RE: Bubbling septic

    Unfortunatley I do not hav any specs on the system. The only thing I can tell you is I live in central florida and the house was built in 1970 that is all I know. I dont want to put too much into this because the city is working there way down my street putting everyone on city waste.

    I was thinking about routing the dishwasher and washing machine out to the back yard to their own drain field. Do you think this will help.

    I only recently installed the DW and just started having the bubbling.
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,993
    Location:
    New England
    Unless you have a front loading WM, a DW typically only uses 1/4 or so of the water of a typical WM load. If that overloads your septic system, something's amiss. Problem with either the DW or WM is that they can pump a lot of water fast. I don't know the answer to your question...see who else pops up. A DW, maybe 12-15 gallons per cycle. A WM, 40-60 gallons per cycle.
  17. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Your drain field is failing, and the city is likely not going to let you do much of anything to your overall system even if it might be a little while before the new sewer line actually gets to your house.

    Running the washing-machine discharge elsewhere will definitely help take some of the load off your drain field and possibly buy you a little time, but there is probably some regulation saying you cannot dump it on top of the ground. So, burying a 55-gallon drum with holes in it would probably do fine for a little while ... or, you might talk with the contractor that will be hooking you up to the new sewer line and see whether he might have a temporary solution that will not get the city all worked up.

    Another option is to have your septic tank emptied (pumped) every week or so for a while, but that could end up costing quite a bit.
  18. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I assume the plumbers would say that could certainly be possible, but what we have here is a septic system that is over 30 years old and might never have been rehabbed along the way. "Progressive failure" is part of the deal with any field system, and the washing machine is now said to be "bubbling" the bathroom while the dishwasher (discharging less water) has not been reported as doing the same. Opening the distribution box would tell the story here, and my guess is that it has standing water with just enough room for the impact of a flush and/or most of the DW discharge (with the remainder laying in the pipes), and that the field system can still handle at least some of the slower flow of what drains from a tub or shower. But, it sounds like the washing machine dumps too much too fast with not enough open space in the septic system for the total of that volume to go.
  19. lampman42

    lampman42 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Bubbling Septic

    Thanks for all the great info, where would I find the D-Box?
  20. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    If the septic system is 30 years old, it may have been installed without a Distrubution Box (D-box). But depending on the lay of the land, it is probably less than 10' from the output of the septic tank.

    Rancher
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